12 Best Running Scenes In Movies For Global Running Day

June 1, 2022 was Global Running Day. As someone who runs six days a week, has completed five marathons, and talks about running ad nauseum, I wanted to celebrate by talking about it more. If you have a runner in your life, you know that this is a byproduct of choosing this form of exercise. The thing about running is, we've all done it, whether we like it, love it, or hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, which is what it makes our thighs feel like. 

Maybe you want to get out there and run, or maybe you just like to watch other people do it. If you need some inspiration to throw on those sneakers and start moving, here is my list of the top 12 running scenes in movies. What's crazy is how many I had to leave out, so if you have a favorite, let us know!

12. Silver Linings Playbook

In 2012's "Silver Linings Playbook," Pat (Bradley Cooper) is out running past Tiffany's (Jennifer Lawrence) house, wearing a sweatsuit and a black plastic garbage bag. It's clear that this guy runs fairly often, as his gait is a sort of lope that you can keep up for a long time. If you're a runner, you know what I mean. It's that sort of rhythm you get into where your body is moving without much strain anywhere. It doesn't look like he's several takes in. Pat doesn't seem tired at all, and he does talk about this being a regular route. 

Tiffany's run is pretty comfortable as well. When you're dealing with certain mental health issues, undergoing a lot of stress, or if you're very tired, running can sometimes bring clarity and peace. If you know a runner, you've probably heard them talk about how they're tired, so they're going for a run. It sounds counterintuitive, but it does work a lot of the time. 

I'm not sure if Lawrence or Cooper are runners in real life, but they look it here. That gait of Cooper's has a bounce to it that speaks of a comfort with distances. Plus, that garbage bag is something you sometimes see at races, when people are trying to keep warm before a marathon. Those things start really early, and it's often pretty cold. It's an odd choice here, but who am I to judge? I have worn one before. One no-no is Tiffany bending over to put her hands on her knees when she's tired. It doesn't help and can make it harder to breathe. 

11. Brittany Runs a Marathon

I have such a soft spot for "Brittany Runs a Marathon." It came out before I started running, but I didn't see it until after I did. I think about it every time I run a marathon. Jillian Bell actually filmed this during the 2017 New York City Marathon, wearing the race bib and everything. A full marathon is no joke, and your body reminds you around 18 miles in that this isn't natural to do. You hit a wall, with your body starting to shut down if you're not careful. It's a glorious experience when it's over, but oh my gosh, when you're doing it, it's rough. Her face in this picture ... I've had that face. 

When she finishes the race (which is the scene we're talking about here), it's the powerful moment of knowing how many times you could have quit, how much pain you feel in your legs. Your digestion is likely all over the place, you're covered in visible salt from your sweat, you probably have leg cramps that have stopped you for a bit like they do for Brittany ... but when you see that finish line (and I swear to you, you don't notice it, even when you're looking for it), you hear those cheers, it's like no other feeling in the world. Her face is so on point, between laughing and screaming, that it actually makes me tear up just looking at it. 

10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Come on, I had to include this one! In 1986's "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is running to beat his parents home after taking a day off from school and getting into all sorts of mischief. He's charging through yards, up slides (which I haven't tried, but I can't imagine is easy), and even through houses. His arms are flailing all over the place, which is terrible form, but certainly makes sense for the panic of the scene. He doesn't look super out of breath, but he's a teenager, so he has more energy than I do.

The really fun thing here is the moment he runs through a yard and grabs a Coke can out of the hand of a man grilling steaks. This is a hard skill to learn, but really useful if you're doing marathons. Every mile or two, you often have a hydration station, where people are handing you cups of water or sports drink. You can get really sticky or soaked if you don't know how to grab that cleanly, and Ferris, color me impressed!

9. Raiders of the Lost Ark

In 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) gets into all kinds of scrapes. He's pretty fit from what we can see, but the run he does in this scene isn't a normal one at all. He's running from a giant rolling boulder. This isn't a running scenario I'd recommend, but it's one of my favorites. It's a short scene, not even lasting a full minute, but Indy is all over the place, darting back and forth on uneven ground, even running through a giant spider's web. Probably the only thing that could get me to do that is a giant boulder rolling behind me.

Indy looks exhausted, as he should be, and running on ground like that isn't easy. (I hope he had his trail running shoes on!) Frankly though, my main thought through this entire thing, watching it again, is how the hell that hat stays on his head! I can't keep a baseball cap on, even when I'm only jogging. I really need to ask Harrison Ford about that the next time I interview him. He'll probably just say "movie magic," but it's worth a shot. 

8. Trainspotting

The opening of the 1996 film "Trainspotting" is a short running scene again, but it's definitely one of the ones that first popped into my head. In it, we watch heroin addict Rent Boy (Ewan McGregor) running away from cops with his friends after stealing. Maybe not the best way to start a running hobby, though nothing is going to get you moving faster like cops behind you, ready to arrest you. This is a flat out run, the sort of wild ride that makes me think of Phoebe's (Lisa Kudrow) goofy running in "Friends." Definitely not similar scenarios, but it's the sort of running you do as a kid when you don't know how to pace yourself. 

He's bent over a car, then laughing, and looks exhilarated by the experience. Now, please do not do heroin and run, but I do want to mention that stoned running is a controversial new thing in the running world. I cannot imagine doing this myself. I mean, mostly I'd just want to sit and eat Cheetos while thinking about running, or I'd forget what the heck I was doing out there in the first place. 100% not judging you if this is your thing. Just couldn't do it myself. 

7. Forrest Gump

Everyone knows the line, "Run Forrest, run!" If you're a runner, you probably have it yelled at you as you train, as I did just this morning. In 1994's "Forrest Gump," the lead character is part of a whole lot of pop culture moments. One of those is the running boom that took place in the 1970s. One day Forrest (Tom Hanks) decides to start running, then he just keeps going for over three years. I do not like this movie at all, but this scene, I get. He stops to eat and sleep, but he just keeps going. People start to follow him, and ask why. "They just couldn't believe that someone would do all that running for no particular reason." 

I hear that a lot, honestly, when I tell people I'm a marathon runner. There are days when, if my body would let me, I'd just keep going. Running clears the mind, and lets you think, which Forrest talks about. He's stiff-looking when he starts his run, like we all are, but as he goes, his form improves and he relaxes his muscles. We're told to think of our hands like we're holding potato chips and we're not supposed to crush them, and to relax the jaw, both of which he does as he goes. 

This scene makes me think of ultramarathons, which I am planning on doing this year. They usually start at 50k, but they keep going up to 100 miles. Some go by hours, some by days. From the reading I've done, this sort of lines up. You do have to stop to eat and use the bathroom, and sometimes to sleep, depending on how long the race is. People will sometimes spell you, running with you for 10 miles or 30. Weird as this movie is, the running part is about as accurate as it can get in a fantasy. 

6. Run Lola Run

In the 1998 German film "Run Lola Run," Lola (Franka Potente) is trying to get money for her boyfriend before he's killed for not having it. The time keeps resetting, but that's not the point here. Lola has very little time to get this money, and the run is intense. Potente has my admiration, because that's not an easy pace she's setting. Her hands are clenched into fists, which isn't great form, but that isn't why she's running. She's got that gait that sort of flings you forward in a panic. I'm no sprinter, but it looks more like that. Doing that over long distances isn't great, and pacing yourself is the hardest thing you can do in a marathon. There is that lizard brain part of you that wants to get in front of other people so the bear gets them first, you know what I mean? 

Adrenaline is a powerful motivator though (which is why you can tell yourself to start slow and still find yourself going too fast in a marathon), and it's clearly driving her here. Potente looks like she's handling it well though. The collapse at the end is something you absolutely see at the end of a marathon, though if you do one, try to keep running a bit beyond the end so you don't cause a pile up! 

5. Rocky

1976's "Rocky" has one of the most famous running scenes in film history. "Rocky II" and "Rocky III" have some great ones as well. In this one though, Sylvester Stallone is running at a pretty good clip through Philadelphia, in a grey sweatsuit. Oh, the years when tech fabric wasn't available! I cannot imagine how soggy that thick cotton thing was as he finally gets to those steps. 

Obviously Stallone was in great shape when he filmed this, and his form is good from what I can tell. It's kind of wonderful, watching him run through different parts of the city. You end up seeing things in a completely different way as you run by them. This is such a classic scene, and Rocky running up the stairs at the end became iconic enough that there is a statue of him holding his arms up. You can visit the stairs (though the statue is now at the bottom of them). I do wonder about leaping when you get up there at the end of a run, but this is Rocky. He can do whatever he wants. 

4. The Mummy Returns

In 2001's "The Mummy Returns," we have another instance of running to save someone's life. This time around, Brendan Fraser's Rick O'Connell has to race with his son Alex (Freddie Boath) to get him to the temple. If he doesn't make it by the time the sun is up, the Bracelet of Anubis which has locked around Alex's wrist, will kill him. Certainly a good motivation to run fast! 

Okay, this scene is very silly, with the shadows sometimes in the wrong direction, and people realizing that there is no way anyone could run fast enough for that distance to beat the sun. Still, it's a movie about mummies, and it's really fun to watch. I'll buy anything Brendan Fraser does. Though you can't really see form, and it really doesn't matter for this one, it's really rough to run carrying something, particularly a kid! People do train with a rucksack (a weighted pack) sometimes to train, but it's not something my knees like very much. Kudos to Fraser for this scene (and pretty much everything else he's ever done).

3. Marathon Man

In 1976's "Marathon Man," Dustin Hoffman plays Babe. He's a runner and he uses that skill to outrun the bad guys. I won't go into the plot here, but the scene in question sees Babe begin his running escape in a bathrobe and pajama pants. Not the best gear, but hey, when the criminals are coming, you run in what you have on. 

He later takes off his shirt, and I have to say, this is one of the best panicked running scenes out there. Babe is gasping for breath, his mouth wide open, sweating like crazy. His arms are flailing, but he's going fast. I mean, the man is outrunning a car! The guy chasing him is gritting his teeth to keep going, and that's not the best idea if you don't want a migraine after your run, but that's not important here. This film is also famous for Laurence Olivier giving Hoffman crap for method acting. I don't know if he ran a lot of marathons for this film, but at least it's good exercise. 

2. Chariots of Fire

In 1981's "Chariots of Fire," the entire opening sequence is probably the most famous running scene ever. In fact, if you tell anyone you run as a hobby, they'll likely hum the late Vangelis' score to you. This is a film about the 1924 Olympics, and honestly, form wasn't the same back then. The opening sequence on the beach with the runners training has some good form, but others are flailing their arms. Of course, running on the beach is actually much harder than it seems. You're not getting the bounce off of the pavement or packed sand, and it's exhausting. 

Everyone is running barefoot here, and that is something a lot of modern runners (and some not-so-modern) like to do. It's a movement in the running community, but as someone who runs in Los Angeles, I don't like to think about what I'd be stepping on. The opening scene is worth watching for inspiration though. 

1. Tom Cruise in everything, including Mission: Impossible III

Tom Cruise runs in pretty much all the movies he does, and the video above is a compilation of that. Cruise is famous for his stunts in films, and as someone who watched him land a helicopter on a flight deck for the "Top Gun: Maverick" premiere, I'm impressed. Running might not be considered a stunt, but Cruise is pretty good at it. 

One film that stands out is 2006's "Mission: Impossible III," where he's running through the city at top speed, all the while being coached on where to go by Benji (Simon Pegg) over a cell phone. Let's put aside the fact that you'd be unlikely to hear Benji over the sound of your own breathing, running like that. This is an epic run through villages and traffic. (I do want to point out that even a neighborhood runner has to deal with cars and trucks that don't bother to look for us as we go by. I have been close to being hit several days a week, every single week of the year.) Cruise is clearly in shape here, and while he looks winded, he is certainly capable of doing a distance run. His form is interesting though, with him leaning back slightly and splaying his hands. Look, it's Ethan Hunt. I'm not going to criticize his form that much. He clearly gets the job done.

Happy running!